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When can New York employees take FMLA leave?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2023 | Employment Law

Companies and the employees that work for them often have competing interests. Individuals want to earn a decent living and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Companies want staffing on demand and usually try to keep their operating expenses as low as possible. Those opposing interests make it necessary for the government to intervene for the protection of workers. There are numerous federal laws and New York state statutes that help clarify the responsibilities of employers and the rights of individual workers.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is one of the most important worker protections. The FMLA authorizes individuals in certain circumstances to take unpaid leave from their jobs without suffering any career penalties. When can New York employees take leave under the FMLA?

When their employment qualifies

There are several rules clarifying when employment arrangements make someone eligible for FMLA leave. Both the duration of someone’s employment and the size of the company influence eligibility. A company needs to have at least 50 workers within 75 miles for the FMLA to apply. Additionally, the worker needs to have been with the company for at least 12 months and put in at least 1,250 hours. If the situation meets both of those standards, then a worker may request FMLA leave in a qualifying situation.

When their situation qualifies

The FMLA has three general categories of personal circumstances that qualify for unpaid leave. Workers can take up to 12 paid weeks of unpaid leave if they cannot work because of a personal medical issue like a broken bone from a car crash or a recent cardiac incident. Workers can take leave when they have a baby, adopt a child or obtain foster placement. Workers can also ask for FMLA leave when a parent, child or spouse has a medical emergency that requires support. If the family member requiring support actively serves in the United States military, the available leave may increase to 26 weeks.

Workers need to have documentation of their qualifying circumstances and effectively communicate with their employers regarding their need for FMLA leave. Understanding the rules that apply can help both workers in stressful situations and employers alike to better understand the options available to them and the responsibilities that the law imposes as well.